Showing posts with label Blythe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blythe. Show all posts

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Patron Post: Is This Blythe?

It is so easy to fall down rabbit holes in the doll world, isn't it?  Well, I've fallen down another one.  A really, really big one.  Bigger, even, than I suspected the first time I wrote this review (more on that in a sec)!  It all started with my wonderful Patron Katrina's suggestion that I look more in-depth at the Blythe universe.  I haven't purchased a Blythe doll in about ten years, and I've never written a formal review of the brand, so this was an excellent suggestion!  Today's review will not address authentic Blythe dolls, though, but rather a few of the enticing imitations that exist on the market.

As some of you might recall, the first version of this review featured an imitation Blythe doll that I purchased from the shop that took over Gina Garan's old website and is named after her iconic book, This is Blythe.  The doll was lovely, but she was significantly more expensive than similar dolls that I found as I was doing research for the review.  I stated this fact in my post, including my best explanation for the price difference, but this was apparently not okay with the shop--nor was my talking about their competitors in any way.  They asked me to edit the review to remove all mention of certain other retailers.  In hindsight, their request was ludicrous.  But they seemed nice at first, and I'm never looking to upset anyone, so I offered to try and help.  I stayed up until 3:00am one night (they're in a dramatically different time zone), emailing back and forth and changing the review to make them happy.  However, when I (finally) put my foot down and refused to edit and lock the comments section, they abruptly threatened to sue me--using private information that they'd obtained from my purchases.  That's not nice.  A quick Trustpilot search revealed that they have a history of threatening similar nonsense to other customers (including a fellow blogger).  I don't like bullies, so I didn't want to imply endorsement of this shop by featuring their products.  I do not recommend this shop.  After considering my options, I decided to delete the old review and write a new version using equivalent items that I bought from other retailers.  And it's a happy ending, because I had so much more fun this time around!

I didn't want to delete the old review without replacing it, because looking at imitation Blythe dolls is an important part of a bigger series of articles that I'm planning.  This is quite an exciting (and nerve-wracking!) time for the authentic Blythe brand because Hasbro recently severed its long-term connection with Takara/TOMY (the manufacturers of Blythe dolls) and has entered a new relationship with Good Smile Company.  Good Smile has a wonderful reputation in the figurine world (they make Nendoroids), but they do not have an extensive resumé in doll making.  So everyone's been waiting anxiously to see if the new Blythe dolls will be as good as the old.

Today's review will include an in-depth look at a girl I bought from Blythe Homes (an AliExpress vendor), and a more cursory look at a few similarly-priced dolls that I found at various other places.  I'll also throw in some terminology, market observations, and thoughts about what it means to be Blythe.  At a later date, I'll follow up with a review of an authentic Takara-made Blythe doll, and then compare her to a new Good Smile Company doll.  Are you ready for a review re-do?  I hope so!  Here we go again:

Imitation DBS Blythe doll from Blythe Homes, $35.20 (outfit not included).

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Shibajuku Girls Mini Dolls: Shiba-Cuties!

Today I'm going to review several 6-inch Shiba-Cuties, the newest offering from Hunter Products' Shibajuku Girls collection.  I could declare that this review was part of the mini doll mini series I was talking about back in May, although I'll confess that I didn't even know about these particular minis when I had the idea to start that series.  And speaking of that series, I haven't forgotten about all of the other mini dolls that I want to review, but these Shibajuku newcomers stole the spotlight when they came into the house, probably because I've had this style of doll on my mind lately with the release of Gwen Stefani's Kuu Kuu Harajuku line.

I've been stalled in my mini doll reviews mostly because it's been too brutally hot and humid to take decent outdoor pictures.  In fact, it was brutally hot and humid the day I took the Shiba-Cuties outside for their photo shoot, but I managed to capture a few quick shots before I was attacked by mosquitoes of unusual size.  More on that later.  For now, I'll start things off by showing you one of the better pictures from that session.  It seems so calm and pleasant:

Shiba-Cuties doll, Namika ($9.90).

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Beatrix Girls "Lark" by Popstar Club

The Beatrix Girls are 12 inch dolls that represent a group of four (teenaged?) friends who are in a band together.  Each character sings, plays an instrument, and writes music.  The girls are designed to be role models for young kids because of the talent, determination and hard work that have made their band a huge success.  The Beatrix Girls are manufactured by Popstar Club LLC, a new California-based company that plans to focus on cross-platform products.  The dolls are part of a multi-media world that includes short (live action) webisodes and tracks of pop music.

When I first saw the Beatrix Girls dolls on the shelves at Toys R Us last year, I was turned off by the huge heads and facial expressions on these characters.  Frankly, the combination of wide eyes, angrily-slanted eyebrows and large smiles made these dolls look sinister to me.  However, the body proportions on the Beatrix Girls reminded me of Pullip and Blythe dolls, and I couldn't help but wonder if this brand might be an interesting and inexpensive alternative to some popular large-headed collector dolls.

Over the past year, many of you have encouraged me to take a second look at The Beatrix Girls.  I took your advice, and will admit that by the third or fourth time I saw these dolls in the store, the faces started to seem less angry and more appealing.  However, I was still bothered by the fact that the first release dolls did not come with their instruments (nor were the instruments originally available for separate purchase).  This was an oversight for a doll brand designed around music.  Last May, however, I was able to find a Justice exclusive version of the redheaded character, "Lark," who actually came with her bass guitar.  I decided to purchase this doll for review and paid $24.99 for her through Amazon (where she's now on sale for $20).  Incidentally, all of the newest Beatrix Girl dolls come with instruments, and the instruments have also recently been released in separate accessory sets.  Here's my Lark:

Beatrix Girls Lark doll
Beatrix Girls "Lark" $24.99.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Review Fusion #1

I have been getting quite a lot of guest review requests these past few weeks for some reason, which is really wonderful.  I love how guest reviews can change my feelings about certain dolls (I bought my first Bratz!), how they can help encourage me to write a review that I had been putting off, or how they simply remind me of the fact that dolls make people happy for so many different reasons.

The problem with these guest review requests (as those who have emailed me know too well...) is that I am painfully slow to get things organized and published, and the waiting times are getting long.  In an attempt to lessen this problem, I have decided to combine guest reviews together into occasional "Review Fusion" posts.  This should allow me to share more perspectives while still doing my own reviews each week.

I have also received some amazingly gorgeous single photographs by email over the years, and have been looking for a good way to share a few of those with you.  My plan is to start each Review Fusion volume with a beautiful photo, and then move into the actual reviews after the jump.

I knew exactly which photo to share first: this is a Pullip doll, "Nanette," posed in front of the Great Wall of China.  This amazing picture was taken by LagoonaLicious, author of the Skelita Calaveras review from last year:

"Nanette."  Photo by LagoonaLicious.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Momoko "Love DHEXl" 10th Anniversary Doll by Sekiguchi

When I started to be interested in Pullip and Blythe dolls a few years ago, I noticed the name "Momoko" popping up in the chat forums and blogs I was frequenting.  I have admired pictures of Momoko dolls ever since this first introduction, but have always stopped just shy of buying one because of their high prices.  During my recent Tangkou review, Momoko's name cropped up again, and this time I decided that it was time to learn more.

Momoko is a line of highly articulated 10.5 inch plastic fashion dolls made in Japan.  The dolls have childlike anime-style faces and wear very detailed outfits in a wide range of styles.  There have been Momoko dolls dressed in wedding gowns, gothic robes, office wear and even a cheerleader uniform.
Momoko dolls were first produced in 2001 by the small software company, PetWORKS.  The first dolls to be made were called DHEXs and DHEXl.  The cryptic acronyms come from "Doll Head EXhibition," the event that hosted the debut of this line.  The "s" and "l" after the acronym stand for "short" and "long" haired versions of this first doll.  I am grateful to the barbigirl website for providing this information and for having lots of wonderful reference pictures.

In 2004, the production of Momoko dolls was passed to the Sekiguchi doll making company, which is where the dolls are made today. Sekiguchi also makes the Monchhichi monkey dolls that first appeared back in the 70s (licensed by Mattel in the US).  Do you remember those Monchhichi commercials?  They're still stuck in my head thirtysomething years later.

I chose the 10th anniversary "Love DHEXl" doll because although she is made by Sekiguchi, she honors Momoko's PetWORKS roots:

Sekiguchi Momoko, "Love DHEXl"

Monday, September 17, 2012

Tangkou Doll "Loli"

Tangkou dolls are highly articulated plastic ball jointed dolls with large heads and color-changing eyes.  These dolls are designed and produced in China by the 6th Sense Tang Doll Group.  Tangkou dolls have body and head proportions that are very similar to the Pullip line and an eye mechanism that rotates through different eye colors just like the Blythe dolls.  Tangkou dolls cost from $45-$75, which is half if not a third of what most Blythe and Pullip dolls will set you back.

I first saw a Tangkou doll just over a year ago on one of my favorite Flickr sites.  At that time, it seemed a bit difficult to order these dolls in the US.  Now, the ordering process is very easy--from a variety of different countries.  You can buy the dolls directly from the Tangkou website (they accept PayPal) and you can often find a nice variety of these dolls on eBay.  I ordered my doll back in May from the Tangkou shop and she arrived last week, so, if you decide to order from the website, brace yourself for a long wait.  I must have run into some especially bad luck with my order, though, because I think it is more typical for these dolls to take only a few weeks to arrive.

I ordered one of the most expensive Tangkou dolls, Loli.  I chose this doll because I like her promo pictures, I like her name, I like that she is a limited edition (2000 pieces) and I like that she has a wig (some of the dolls are rooted) with lovely light blue hair.  I think she has a goofy Alice in Wonderland vibe abut her:

Tangkou doll "Loli."

Friday, August 17, 2012

Cutie Pops "Cookie" Doll by Jada Toys, Inc.

*You can find newer reviews of the Cutie Pops here, here, here and here. :)

I had a few much-appreciated tips about a new doll line that has hit the shelves at some of the big chain stores.  The dolls are called "Cutie Pops" and they are made by a toy company called Jada that I had honestly never heard of before.  It's nice to see another competitor enter the ring with MGA Entertainment, Mattel and Spin Master.  Jada Toys, Inc. is a California-based company that, since their establishment in 1999, has produced mostly die-cast cars, radio control toys and model kits.  While Jada has a line of Hello Kitty toys, Cutie Pops seem to be their first foray into the doll world.

At first glance, the Cutie Pops look a lot like La Dee Da dolls.  They have tiny bodies and huge heads with wide, elaborate eyes.  Their outfits are bursting with colors and glitter and decoration.  In person, these dolls have the proportions of a Pullip doll with some traits that remind me of the Lalaloopsy line.  I might have ignored them completely if it weren't for Jessica telling me that they have interchangeable eyes and hair.  This was more than enough to get my attention.  I have long thought that it would be wonderful to bring the customizing potential of Pullips and Blythes to young children.  Everyone likes to be able to change a doll to suit their own personality.

At the moment, there are three different Cutie Pops dolls to choose from (Cookie, Chiffon and Candi). My Target had Cookie and Chiffon for $19.99 each when I went last week.  Don't pay the crazy online prices.  There's also a fourth doll named Carmel who isn't in stores yet, and an exclusive doll named Starr who has made some appearances on eBay.  My choice was mercifully easy because the Chiffon at my Target had a lip paint defect...so I got Cookie:

Cutie Pops "Cookie" doll.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Some Friends for Barbie's Sister Chelsea

I was so charmed by the cuteness of Chelsea, that I decided to buy a few of her friends.  I was especially interested in the chameleon and hamster pets, because those seem a bit more exotic than the bunny, dog and cat.  I am also one of those people who loves a surprise.  I get insanely curious when I can't see something about a toy until I open it up.  The hamster and chameleon pets can't be seen very well through the boxes, so they were kind-of irresistible to me.  By the way, I also like cereal boxes with toys in them and toy capsule vending machines.  Those kinds of things.

So, I bought Viveca with her chameleon pet:


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Li'l Woodzeez Honeysuckle Hollow General Store and Tickle Your Taste Buds Bakery

First things first, what are Li'l Woodzeez?  They are similar to the Calico Critters in that they are flocked and dressed families of upright-walking animals.  From just looking at them in the store, I can tell you that Woodzeez are slightly bigger than Calico Critters and less expensive ($9.99 vs. $19.99).  You can get Li'l Woodzeez at Target and also on Amazon, but beware of the often way-inflated prices for these sets on Amazon.

I can't really recommend the Li'l Woodzeez themselves at this point.  I glanced at them briefly and thought the turtle family was cute, but overall there wasn't much variety to grab my attention with these little guys.  I am tempted to purchase a Calico Critter and review those cuties, though.

What did cause me to pause my toy aisle lurking was this:

Honeysuckle Hollow General Store, $19.99.

Littlest Pet Shop Blythe Dolls by Hasbro

Ok, so it's hard to pick a first toy to chat about.  I decided to go with the LPS ("Littlest Pet Shop") Blythe dolls, also known as the "Pet Sitters" or "Blythe Loves Littlest Pet Shop."  I chose these tiny cuties because they intersect with many of my other doll and toy interests.

You can get these dolls at all of the big stores--Walmart, Target, Kmart, Toys 'R' Us and also directly from Hasbro.  They tend to come in a small box with or without a LPS pet.  Here is one of Target's exclusive Blythe dolls still in her box: